Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

U-M, Shanghai Jiao Tong University fund new round of energy, biomedical projects

U-M and Shanghai Jiao Tong University have chosen six research teams to win a share of $1.05 million in funding for renewable energy and biomedical technology projects in the second year of a joint program that teams up investigators from both schools.

The energy projects chosen aim to improve wind turbines and electric vehicle batteries and to better understand the combustion physics of biofuels. The health care technology efforts are geared toward enhancing treatment of neurological disorders and diagnosis of cancer, as well as exploring nanoparticle drug delivery systems.

"The joint program with SJTU is a model for the kinds of collaborations required to address the global challenges our society faces," says Vice President for Research Stephen Forrest. "It brings complementary research strengths and perspectives to bear on these critical areas, and fosters the cooperation and mutual understanding that underlies realistic solutions."

The renewable energy projects are:

• An analytical-experimental technique for dynamic loads evaluation and structural identification (digital twins) of wind turbines
Principal investigators: Carlos Cesnick, U-M Department of Aerospace Engineering; Olivier Bauchau, UM-SJTU Joint Institute
Goal: To measure the strain on wind turbines to help achieve safe, efficient and long-term operation.

• Safe, high-performance lithium-sulfur batteries for electric vehicle applications
Principal investigators: Charles Monroe, U-M Department of Chemical Engineering; Jiulin Wang and Jun Yang, SJTU Department of Chemical Engineering
Goal: To develop next-generation high-energy density batteries to help bring about low-cost and safe electric vehicles with driving ranges well above 250 miles.

• Physics foundation for controlling biofuel sprays
Principal investigators: Volker Sick, U-M Department of Mechanical Engineering; Min Xu, SJTU Department of Mechanical Engineering; David Hung, U-M-SJTU Joint Institute
Goal: To enable broader use of biofuels in advanced internal combustion engines.

The biomedical technology projects are:

• Integrative neurotechnologies for next-generation neuromodulation
Principal investigators: Daryl Kipke, U-M Department of Biomedical Engineering; Ning Lan, SJTU Department of Biomedical Engineering
Goal: To develop innovative technologies that combine deep brain stimulation "brain pacemaker" devices with targeted drugs to more fully modulate neural activity for treatment of neurological disorders.

• Advanced in vivo photoacoustic imaging and detection of cancer
Principal investigators: Xueding Wang, U-M Medical School Department of Radiology; Xunbin Wei, SJTU Department of Biomedical Engineering
Goal: Explore the capability of utilizing techniques that combine both light and sound to image cancer biomarkers and cancer cell metastasis.

• Nano drug carrier development utilizing in vivo molecular imaging technology
Principal investigators: Kyung-Dall Lee, U-M College of Pharmacy; Yuhong Xu, SJTU College of Pharmacy
Goal: To establish a platform to compare nanoparticle drug delivery systems quickly, cheaply and easily.

The goal of the U-M/SJTU Collaborative Research Program in Renewable Energy Science and Technology is to develop new technologies that reduce global carbon emissions and their impact on climate change. The Collaborative Research Program in Biomedical Technologies will spur technological advances that improve human health.

This is the second year of a five-year seed phase of the programs, during which officials aim to identify projects that have commercial potential and that are likely to attract follow-on research funding from the U.S. and Chinese governments, as well as from industry. The universities have committed to spending up to $3 million each on their part of the collaborative research over the five-year period.

These research partnerships between U-M and SJTU build on existing collaborations between the two schools. In 2001, U-M became the first non-Chinese academic institution approved to offer graduate engineering degrees in China, at SJTU. In 2005 U-M and SJTU formed a joint institute to manage and direct degree-granting programs offered by both universities to students of both nations.